Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In your Baptism, you were born anew--thanks be to God! So if your Baptism worked, why should you desire to come to the Lord's Supper? Here's what Luther had to say:
Therefore, (The Sacrament of the Altar) is appropriately called food for the soul, for it nourishes and strengthens the new creature. For in the first instance, we are born anew through baptism. However, our human flesh and blood, as I have said, have not lost their old skin. There are so many hindrances and attacks of the devil and the world that we often grow weary and faint and at times even stumble. Therefore the Lord's Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith my be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger. For the new life should be one that continually develops and progresses. But it has to suffer a great deal of opposition. The devil is a furious enemy; when he sees that we resist him and attack the old creature, and when he cannot rout us by force, he sneaks and skulks about at every turn, trying all kinds of tricks, and does not stop until he had finally worn us out so that we either renounce our faith and lose heart and become indifferent or impatient. For times like these, when our heart feels too sorely pressed, this comfort of the Lord's Supper is given to bring us new strength and refreshment (LC V, 23-27).
The Lord's Supper is for the sinner, for Jesus didn't come to "call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew 9:13).
Have you ever wondered if you qualify to come to the rail? Have you ever doubted whether or not you were worthy of kneeling and holding out your hand? Have you ever considered that your position at the rail, is that of a beggar?
Maybe it needs to be repeated. The Lord's Supper is for the sinner--the beggar. The one who knows his or her sin and is troubled by it. The Lord's Supper is for the sinner who is ashamed and wants to do better.
This weekend, many of you will have the opportunity to receive Christ's body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins, and the strengthening of your faith. As you prepare yourselves to receive this blessed and holy meal, do what Luther taught in Small Catechism:
Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments: Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife or worker? Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy? Have you been hot-tempered, rude, or quarrelsome? Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds? Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything, or done any harm?
Run to the table of the Lord. For when His body and blood are placed into your mouth with His Word of forgiveness, there, you will taste and see that indeed, the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8).
From one beggar to another. Amen.